Liu Bei - A historically better ruler?

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Liu Bei - A historically better ruler?

Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:24 pm

Most of us will agree that San Guo Yan Yi paints a rather disoriented picture of who Liu Bei really was. Instead of focusing on his ability to rule, Luo Guanzhong focused on the moral aspect of Liu Bei's legitimacy. For instance there were large accords of his link back to the Prince of Zhongsheng, his endless crying about taking land from relatives (Liu Biao, Liu Zhang) and of course all the reference to Liu Bang and other Han people.
However, because of this, there is less information on what Liu Bei did do that made him a good ruler.
Liu Bei pretty much came from the least favourable background of the three Kings. Cao Cao had the luxury of his father and the benefit of his family's fame. He was not as good as most cosider him to be, simply because he had his share of losses, and because it was mostly other people that attributed to his victories.
Sun Quan of course already had Jiang Dong when he started, though merely a child, he already owned power.
Liu Bei was a nobody with no experience who managed to get from nothern YouZhou to southern YiZhou, defeated many opponents along the way. Zhuge Liang historically didn't participate in fighting as Liu Bei did, who even defeated an asteemed general like Xiahou Dun, without help.
The biggest problem for Liu Bei in fact became the few things that he had going for him. His legitimacy with the Han made his decisions against Liu Zhang and others seem treacherous, simply because it made him look like a real ruler. Just as Cao Cao and Sun Quan, Liu Bei had to take advantage of the situations around him.
Forming Shu in between Wei and Wu, two powerful nations, and dodging assassination attempts by people like Cai Mao, made it quite an acheivement.
I don't care much for the fictional Liu Bei, but the real Liu Bei deserves more credit.
I don't think people like Fa Zheng, Ma Liang and Fei Wei, whom I hold in high regard, would have joined Liu Bei if he had no potential.
Propriety and moral aside, Liu Bei as an effective ruler who was ruined because of the loss of Jingzhou and his own mistake at Yiling.
Should he been given the chance to fight Sima Yi, I don't doubt he could have advanced more into the north.
Internal strife and foreign relations caused the doom of Shu, with Liu Bei, the dead Emperor as blame.
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Re: Liu Bei - A historically better ruler?

Unread postby James » Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:31 pm

I think Liu Bei is held in a different light because of Luo Guanzhong's novel. He portrayed him as the warrior of valiance and honor, and tried to cover up his similarities to Cao Cao and Sun Quan.

Shu was not formed as an accident, it was formed because Liu Bei, like Cao Cao, knew how to take advantage of a situation and make the best of it. At the very least he knew how to use his advisors. A moron could not have formed a kingdom as powerful as Shu (sure, it is weaker than Wei and Wu, but that is not the point) by accident.

I agree and I think he was more like Cao Cao than most people think. He knew how to see an opportunity and use it. Someone that was afraid to invade, even if it was vital for his kingdom, would not have won in the Three Kingdoms era. Liu Bei knew how to see a chance and take it. :)

Zhou Gongjin wrote:... with Liu Bei, the dead Emperor as blame.

I think I know what you mean by this, but clarify just in case?
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Re: Liu Bei - A historically better ruler?

Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:36 pm

Zhuge Kongming wrote:I think I know what you mean by this, but clarify just in case?


I meant that, because Shu in the end failed as a whole, the Emperor takes all responsibility for it. While in fact there was too much that attributed to Shu's fall, while without Liu Bei, there would be no Shu to begin with.
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Re: Liu Bei - A historically better ruler?

Unread postby James » Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:51 pm

Zhou Gongjin wrote:I meant that, because Shu in the end failed as a whole, the Emperor takes all responsibility for it. While in fact there was too much that attributed to Shu's fall, while without Liu Bei, there would be no Shu to begin with.

Yep, that is what I thought. I agree with you as well. It is pretty normal across history though, for the original emperor to get some good and bad credit that they probably don't deserve.
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Unread postby Stefanos » Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:10 pm

Ive got a question. Out of all of the people that served Liu Bei/Liu Chan, who contributed the most?
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Unread postby James » Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:17 pm

Zhou Yu wrote:Ive got a question. Out of all of the people that served Liu Bei/Liu Chan, who contributed the most?

Many people contributed in many ways.
Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were there for him from the beginning and fought for him until their deaths. Fa Zheng was very talented and helped him get Ba-Shu, which was vital. Wei Yan was not only loyal, but skilled. Despite what people think he was important. Huang Zhong was very talented, and also very loyal. Huang Zhong did a lot for him. Zhuge Liang, even though Liu Bei did not fully trust him, was vital in many ways. His designs for foreign relations and internal administration were very helpful. Also, if he hadn't put the Shu Wu alliance together after Liu Bei's death, not a small task, Shu would have fallen.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:29 pm

Zhou Yu wrote:Ive got a question. Out of all of the people that served Liu Bei/Liu Chan, who contributed the most?


Well, administration wise:
Zhuge Liang, Ma Liang, Pang Tong, Fei Wei, Jiang Wei, Dong Yun, Fa Zheng
War wise:
Zhang Fei, Jiang Wei, Guan Yu and Guan Ping, Huang Zhong

I'm leaving out the palace politicians because I don't pay attention to those guys.
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Unread postby LittleConqueror » Sat Jul 06, 2002 1:52 am

What did Dong Yun and Pang Tong do?
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Unread postby James » Sat Jul 06, 2002 2:02 am

LittleConqueror wrote:What did Dong Yun and Pang Tong do?

Pang Tong, although I think he had wonderful potential, died far too early to really help Liu Bei and Shu.

I honestly don't know much about the historical Dong Yun. Maybe one of the experts like Great Deer can enlighten us.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Sat Jul 06, 2002 5:58 am

Pang Tong assisted Zhuge Liang is setting up the administration of Shu. I am not quite sure in detail, you may wanna ask madaboutcheese.
Dong Yun was a very important authority in Shu, and after his death the eunuchs took over. I believe he was the succesor of Jiang Wan.
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